South of Meaning @ House of Egorn, Berlin, Oct. 29 – Dec. 10

by Travis Jeppesen on November 11, 2016

House of Egorn is pleased to present a duo exhibition of new works by Travis Jeppesen and Vivien Zhang. “South of Meaning” shows two practices that break down systemic structures and create new meanings from shards and fragments. In Zhang’s new canvases, objects are arranged and rearranged in layers that repeat over the composition. Themes of repetition, originality, and abstraction emerge from these paintings made from the traces of objects dislocated in time and space.

Jeppesen’s works appear as the progression of a long career that started in writing. Object-Oriented-Writing is a process developed by Jeppesen as a result of the gestural and bodily interaction involved in handwriting. He describes the new works on paper as an exploded notebook, an intimate collection of thoughts, experiments, and the bold calligraphic style that emits the powerful gesturality of writing. Both practices lead towards an idea of writing that exists outside of language or words.

Language is a system that is broken apart and recombined to create new meanings, unable to be expressed through language alone. Vivien Zhang’s “Interrobang” crosses into the field of writing and gives an anchor to the exhibition. The word was coined in the 1960’s by Martin Speckter for use in advertising. It is a name for the visual combination of exclamation and question mark. It can be written “!?” or “?!” to give a multiple emphasis. The idea of punctuation ties the exhibition together as rules from grammar transcribe into the physical space to create the hang. The pieces communicate spatially, forming their own systems and webs of meaning.

Whether abstracting objects or sentences, there remains a feeling of fragility. If a system can be broken down, allowing for flexibility and playfulness, it also reveals its seams and vulnerabilities.

VIVIEN ZHANG (b. 1990, Beijing) lives and works in London, UK. Zhang is currently a fellow at the British School at Rome until July 2017. She received her MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in 2014 after studying art at the Slade School of Fine Art.

Recent exhibitions include: Cavity Drift (solo), Galerie Huit, Hong Kong, 2016; Cue Collision, House of Egorn, London, 2016; Beyond Borders, Blain Southern, London, 2016; Surf the Anodyne (solo), Chadwell Award, London, 2015; Visions for a New Generation (in collaboration with Swarovski), Lane Crawford, Shanghai, 2015; Deeper Bite, Lychee One Gallery, London, 2015; East London Painting Prize, Rum Factory, 2015.

TRAVIS JEPPESEN (b. 1979, Ft. Lauderda­le, Florida) lives and works in Berlin. Jeppesen was recently awarded his Ph.D. in Critical Writing from the Royal College of Art in London. His acclaimed art writing is regularly published in art magazines such as Artforum and Frieze. His first novel Victims was published in 2003 followed by Wolf at the Door (2007), The Suiciders (2013), and All Fall: Two Novelas (2014).

Recent exhibitions include: Word (solo), Rupert, Vilnius, 2016; New Writing (solo), Exile, Berlin, 2016; 16 Sculptures (solo), Wilkinson, London, 2014; Down Where Changed Cubitt, London, 2014-15; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2014.

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